"Suppose your entire life was involved with a major event that had such an impact on more than one country, how is it possible to extricate yourself from that at all?" (From the film)
Midnight Express author Billy Hayes was persona non grata in Turkey for decades, seen as responsible for defaming a country. Years later, he decides he would like to clear his conscience and make peace with the Turks, and he comes back to Turkey..
After his ingenious escape from a Turkish prison in 1975, Billy Hayes arrived home to a hero's welcome, instant celebrity and within a week had a book and movie deal for his story. The resulting film Midnight Express, written by Oliver Stone and directed by Alan Parker, shocked the world at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978 and won many awards. But its lasting impact was on Turkish people worldwide, who saw Billy Hayes as responsible for defaming them and their country. This documentary, which took 8 years to make, revisits that era in candid interviews with Hayes, Parker, Stone and people who knew Hayes at the time. Hayes, now in his 60s, decides he would like to clear his conscience by apologising to Turkey. His initial effort to visit the country was rejected, but then he is invited to a most unlikely event, an annual conference of the Turkish police. He returns to Turkey, with his own demons, and faces a nation still haunted by the film. This is a fascinating story of how one man's life intersected with the fate of a nation, and the consequences for both.
2016 SANTA BARBARA, CANNES, DEAUVILLE, LUMIÈRE GRAND LYON
Writer and producer Sally Sussman started her career as a storyline consultant at The Young and the Restless in 1983. She later joined the writing staff of several TV series. Midnight Return: The Story Of Billy Hayes And Turkey (2016) is her first feature as director.